Volta a Catalunya – Tejay van Garderen stage win, Rodriguez leads


The queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya had mountains and snow and triumphant at the end was Tejay van Garderen while Joaquim Rodriguez leads

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Volta a Catalunya – Tejay van Garderen stage win, Rodriguez leads


Tejay van Garderen wins the queen stage. Photo: voltacatalunya.cat/

Today saw a thrilling fourth stage over 166 kilometres containing five climbs and a  steep uphill finish to Vallter. With only seconds separating the top contenders, the overall lead was within reach for several riders and a major battle on the final slopes was expected.

Four riders, Maxime Mederel (Europcar), Stef Clement (Belkin), Ruben Plaza (Movistar) and Thomas De Gendt (Omega-Pharma Quick Step) used the first climb as a launching pad to rocket away from the peloton where Katusha spent the first part of the day controlling the pace of the peloton.

Entering the final 40 kilometres, Tinkoff-Saxo went to the front of the field with Contador dancing on his pedals at the back of his train. As the escapees took on the final climb surrounded by snow and mist, the break shattered and De Gendt and Plaza were the only survivors as Tinkoff-Saxo started to stir things up in the peloton.

Two degrees in first rain, then snow, clearly, started to have a visible effect on the stars of peloton and riders were in a frozen agony. With 8 kilometres to the snowy and foggy finish line, the breakaway was reeled in and Tinkoff-Saxo and the real race began. It seemed like everything was playing into the hands of the race leader, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), as none of the favourites wanted to launch an early attack.

Nobody wanted to go to early and suffer a long lingering death on the frozen slopes. It wasn’t until three kilometres to go that Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) made his move as the favourites kept watching each other. Two kilometres to go and Chris Froome (Sky) finally launched a stinging attack.

Alberto Contador quickly and firmly shut down the gap and went past the Sky-rider and as Rodriguez hung on to his wheel, the Tinkoff-Saxo-rider paused and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) took advantage of the situation by continuing the pace going clear shadowed by Romain Bardet (ALM).

Van Garderen continued his charge all the way to the finish line ahead of Bardet with Alberto Contador third, a few seconds ahead of Rodriguez and Quintana. Froome finished 7th.

The winner, Van Garderen said of his victory, “I let the other guys do a couple little attacks first so they could kind of wear each other out. I think I got a little lucky and I think the cold might have helped me a little bit.”

“I think I can cope with it a bit better than some of those guys who are 60 kilos. This is my first WorldTour victory and to be up there against all the names like (Alberto) Contador, (Chris) Froome and Purito (Joaquim Rodriguez) – grand tour winners – is a huge honour.”


Snow falls as Rodriguez celebrates another day in the leader’s jersey. Photo: voltacatalunya.cat/

With three stages to go, van Garderen sits third overall, seven seconds off Rodriguez’s lead and three seconds behind Contador. The overall winner of last year’s USA Pro Challenge and Amgen Tour of California said making a further move up the standings will mean staying aggressive.

“It’s going to be difficult because there aren’t that many opportunities,” he said. “There is no time trial, there are no more mountain stages. But if we see an opportunity, we are definitely going to take it.”

Fifth placed Quintana explained to Biciciclismo.com “It was a very difficult day, the snow made it so difficult for me. It was a rather fast climb, with many attacks; there was much strategy between the GC guys”.

“We stayed pretty much together and that makes me calm. I’m still suffering from that flu, but the Giro preparations are good so far. The important thing in this race was checking how my team-mates were doing; we could prove we’re one of the strongest teams in the race and I’m really happy with that.”

1 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 04:49:30
2 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale
3 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo 00:03
4 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 00:04
5 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team 00:05
6 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin Sharp 00:08
7 FROOME Christopher Team Sky
8 BARGUIL Warren Team Giant-Shimano 00:15
9 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:16
10 KISERLOVSKI Robert Trek Factory Racing 00:21

17 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp 01:07
20 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp 01:22
26 BASSO Ivan Cannondale 02:23
27 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE 02:37
35 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
36 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 03:51
64 DE GENDT Thomas Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 14:35
136 EDMONDSON Joshua Team Sky 25.21

DNS HORNER Chris Lampre – Merida –
DNS BETANCUR Carlos AG2R La Mondiale

1 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 17:47:34
2 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo 00:04
3 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:07
4 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 00:10
5 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
6 FROOME Christopher Team Sky 00:17
7 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin Sharp 00:18
8 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:26
9 BARGUIL Warren Team Giant-Shimano 00:42
10 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 00:45

17 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp 01:26
20 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp 01:49
26 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE 03:00
30 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:10
63 SáNCHEZ Samuel BMC Racing Team 16:53
77 DE GENDT Thomas Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 21:40
110 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar 31:33
149 EDMONDSON Joshua Team Sky 41:40


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